Definition of sterile in English:

sterile

Line breaks: ster|ile
Pronunciation: /ˈstɛrʌɪl
 
/

adjective

1Not able to produce children or young: the disease had made him sterile
More example sentences
  • As the experiment was designed to assess the effect of mating on female egg fertility, it was important to remove sterile females from the data set.
  • The ratter kills young and old, male and female, pregnant and sterile with the same compassionless urge.
  • Those adults that do survive are extremely sickly; the females were invariably sterile and the males bred very poorly.
Synonyms
1.1(Of a plant) not able to produce fruit or seeds: the peppermints are vigorous sterile hybrids
More example sentences
  • Fruiting plants are immediately recognizable by the unique bright blue color of their drupes, but sterile shrubs are very nondescript and easily overlooked.
  • Vegetative propagation is used because, except for a few recently discovered fertile clones, garlic flowers are sterile and will not produce true seed.
  • In severe cases the flowers are sterile, although lesser affected female flowers may be fertilized to give mantled fruit.
1.2(Of land or soil) too poor in quality to produce crops: vast tracts of sterile desert land
More example sentences
  • Hester remains in Boston, and goes to live on a remote peninsula of the town in an abandoned cottage where the land is too sterile to support a family.
  • The sturdy roots dug deep into unyielding rocks and drew nourishment from the seemingly sterile soil.
  • Unless your soil is actually sterile, which is rare, it is recommended that you use your soil as you find it.
Synonyms
1.3Lacking in imagination, creativity, or excitement; uninspiring or unproductive: he found the fraternity’s teachings sterile
More example sentences
  • Discussions are sometimes abusive and unpleasant, and often sterile and unproductive, with most people adhering rigidly to their long-entrenched prejudices.
  • It becomes sterile - lacking joy, awe and a sense of God.
  • Personally, I have long ceased listening to either its presentation by the Finance Minister, or the sterile debate that follows.
Synonyms
2Free from bacteria or other living microorganisms; totally clean: a sterile needle and syringes
More example sentences
  • Open fractures need to be cleaned thoroughly in the sterile environment of the operating room before they're set because the bone's exposure to the air poses a risk of infection.
  • The closure threatens the supply of clean, sterile needles to local intravenous drug users.
  • They also provide sterile syringes and needles, as well as management of overdoses by medical personnel when necessary.
Synonyms

Origin

late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin sterilis; related to Greek steira 'barren cow'. sense 2 dates from the late 19th century.

Derivatives

sterilely

adverb
More example sentences
  • Additional equipment (ie, sternal saw, appropriately sized sternal retractor, vascular tray) is immediately available but remains sterilely packaged ready to be opened if a median stemotomy becomes necessary.
  • After the induction of general anesthesia and sterilely preparing the patient's chest, abdomen and groin, a vertical midline median sternotomy was performed.
  • The surgeon and assistant perform a craniotomy while the scrub person sterilely drapes the surgeon's and assistant's chairs and the microscope.

Definition of sterile in:

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